Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Words from Fr Ed (From August 8th, 2010 Bulletin)

Going Away for Brian Thompson
It was a great grace for us to host our first seminarian in a long time here at St. Stephens. Brian is returning to seminary at Theological College at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. for his second year of Theology. He was both a great help to us this summer along with sharing his gift of humor and good will. Thank you Brian for your presence here with us. We will pray for you, Brian, and for your vocation to prosper. Know that you have a home here with us. The gift of a seminarian, a young man willing to serve the Lord, even at the cost of family, friends, and possessions, is a great inspiration to our community. He represents Christ in a special way. The sacrifice is apparent in their challenges, the reward is apparent in their joy. Love is at the heart of every vocation, and we pray that Brian always grow in his.

God our Father,
You will that all people be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Send workers into your great harvest,
that the Gospel may be preached to every creature and your people, gathered together by the Word of life and
strengthened by the power of the sacraments, may advance in the way of salvation and love. Bless Brian with discernment
and strength to live his vocation with great love. Grant this through Christ Our Lord.

Please join me in thanking Brian at a going-away reception between the morning Masses on August 14th, from 9:45am to 10:45am in the parish hall.

Ashes to Ashes
One of the invocations on Ash Wednesday expresses this physical reality in store for our bodies here on earth. It is natural. But
more and more I receive good-willed people preparing for funerals who don’t realize the Church’s teaching on how to care for the remains of
their loved ones. I include here a short extract from the New York Bishops’ Conference on cremated remains:

Does the Church have a preference for either cremation or burial of the body of the deceased?
Although cremation is permitted, Catholic teaching continues to stress the preference for burial or entombment of the body of the deceased.
This is done in imitation of the burial of Jesus’ body.
“This is the Body once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the bread of life. Our identity and self –consciousness as a human person are expressed in and through the body...Thus, the Church’s reverence and care for the body grows out of a reverence and concern for the person whom the Church now commends to the care of God.”

A second question is important as well:
What should become of the cremated remains following the funeral?
Church teaching insists that cremated remains must be given the same respect as the body, including the manner in which they are carried and the attention given to their appropriate transport and placement. The cremated remains of a body are to be buried or entombed,
preferably in a Catholic cemetery, and using the rites provided by the Order of Christian Funerals. The Church does not consider reverent, the following dispositions: scattering cremated remains, dividing cremated remains and keeping cremated remains in the home.
(For the full brochure on Cremated Remains see: )

It may be attractive to scatter ashes on Mt. Rainier or some other special place, or place them in an ornament that one wears as a remembrance, but the body deserves burial in preparation for the Resurrection. Burial also assists the grieving process which is a letting go of
the body. I was able to keep my grandmother’s ashes during the month that lapsed between her death and memorial service. It was a special time to pray with her remains, but when the memorial came it was time to let go and I had the privilege of pouring her remains into the burial
ground at her Episcopal Church. Another advantage is for future generations to have a site where they can go and honor their deceased relatives, to orient themselves in time and meditate on the meaning of life. I’ve been fortunate to be able to visit many of my relative’s graves in the Seattle area and consider the gift of life that they have given me and the urgency to use it wisely. The Fathers of the Church affirmed the power of a cemetery to increase our faith. If you have any questions about preparing for the Resurrection, please speak to Deacon Marshall or Marijean Heutmaker for more information.

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